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25 Mar

How to Do Whimsical Fashion More Sustainably: Our Favourite Clothing Brands

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Whenever I think of free-spirited fashion, I picture some of the greatest legends in the fashion and music industries—people like Stevie Nicks and Talitha Getty and the free-spirited hippies of the ’60s and ’70s. If you’re into the whimsical look, you’re in luck: we found more ethical colourful and flowy brands so you can achieve the perfect artistic and relaxed style.

What is whimsical fashion?

Whimsical or free-spirited fashion is an effortless and breezy style, characterised by long floaty skirts or dresses, loose blouses, boots, and bold (often floral) prints.

Often associated with artists, intellectuals, and writers, this free-spirited fashion style is also seen as an edgier counterculture, going against the trends, structures, and traditions of society.

This artistic “look” seems to have appeared in France after the French Revolution, but it really took off in the 1960s, alongside other countercultures, as young people tried to distance themselves from the growing materialistic mainstream.

Today’s free-spirited fashion is less of a counterculture and lifestyle, as mass media embraced this romantic style. In the 21st century, inspirations include the Olsen twins, Sienna Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Alexa Chung, Florence Welch, and everyone at Coachella, really. Thanks to them, the trend has been revived with a modern twist and minimalist approach.

But many of the more whimsical brands we hear about today, like Free People or Anthropologie, can harm the planet. And that’s not what we want, right?

One fantastic way to stay true to the roots of the movement while also tapping into the timeless trend in your own wardrobe is to look for vintage and second hand gems that match the style. There are a whole host of online marketplaces for pre-loved fashion, otherwise pop into your local charity shop or clothes swap and see what goodies you can dig up for your next festival, summer event, or simply to add to your regular rotation.

If you must by new, we’ve rounded up some top rated brands doing beautiful, more sustainable flowy and floral clothing. Ready to channel your inner Janis Joplin?

Our editors’ favourite whimsical and free-spirited brands

All The Wild Roses

Rated: Good
A whimsical red floral print long sleeve top responsibly-made by All The Wild Roses.

Marlow Red Floral Long Sleeved Top – Ships internationally from Australia

Australian brand All the Wild Roses creates free-spirited fashion for the dreamers and change makers. It uses up to 50% deadstock fabric and makes products using a just-in-time system, creating less waste in the supply chain as a result.

Find most items in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop All the Wild Roses.

Luna + Sun

Rated: Good

Aura Kaftan – Ships internationally from Australia

Luna + Sun is an Australian, cruelty-free fashion line creating gorgeous feminine designs. Its factory is certified by Ethical Clothing Australia, and its products are OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified.

Find the clothes in AU sizes 6-18.

See the rating.

Shop Luna + Sun.

OhSevenDays

Rated: Good
People in dresses by OhSevenDays.

Willa Dress – Ships internationally from Turkey

OhSevenDays was started by Australian-Canadian Megan Mummery to promote slow fashion and the "power of circularity". Based in Istanbul, the brand reclaims end-of-roll fabrics from the city’s garment factories and creates sharp, everyday womenswear that’s as wearable as it is responsible. Essentially, it makes slow fashion from fast fashion's leftovers.

OhSevenDays' garments are available in sizes XS-XL, or in custom sizing.

See the rating.

Shop OhSevenDays.

Vege Threads

Rated: Good
Someone in wide leg pants by Vege Threads.

Hemp Wide Leg Pants – Ships internationally from Australia

Vege Threads is ECA certified and makes all its clothing in Australia. Their range of more sustainable fashion includes menswear and womenswear basics, activewear, and swimwear. Plus, it uses 100% GOTS certified cotton.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Vege Threads.

Seek Collective

Rated: Good
Someone in crop top by Seek Collective.

Rachel Crop Top – Ships internationally from the US

Do the free-spirited trend thoughtfully, through artisanal craftsmanship. Seek Collective is a brand with a dedication to transparency, authenticity, craft, and responsibility, producing intentionally-crafted items in India, through partnerships with like-minded communities and people.

Find most products in XS-L, with an extended sizing range up to 4XL.

See the rating.

Shop Seek Collective.

Ace & Jig (Pre-Owned)

Rated: Good
Someone in dress by Ace and Jig.

Pre-loved Ace & Jig – Ships internationally

On the hunt for some effortless style? Ace and Jig creates just that, using custom woven fabrications made by artisan weavers in India. Although greater transparency is needed about the brand's labour rights, it's important to note that it employs 90% female artisans and provides free childcare. We recommend shopping Ace & Jig second hand on platforms like Vestiaire Collective if you fall in love with its styles.

The range is inclusively sized in 2XS-4XL.

See the rating.

Shop Ace & Jig Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

People Tree

Rated: Great

Judi Broderie Dress – Ships internationally from the UK

Conscious fashion pioneer and leader People Tree is a seriously more responsible brand. It uses lower-impact materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct.

Find most products in UK sizes 6-18.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree EU.

Shop People Tree @ Wearwell.

Altar

Rated: Good
Someone in floral dress by Altar.

Penelope Dark Floral Dress – Ships internationally from the US

Altar is a US-based boutique that specialises in alternative and custom fashion, apothecary, and gifts. The brand celebrates independent manufacturers and artists from across North America, with a focus on the stories that are woven into their work. Its clothing brand, Altar Houseline, is proudly made in America using deadstock materials.

Find most of Altar Houseline's items in sizes S-6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Altar.

Spell

Rated: Good
People wearing scarf as headband and bandeau by Spell.

Rita Travel Scarf – Ships internationally from Australia

Spell’s Rita Travel Scarf is great for the conscious whimsical wardrobe because it’s super versatile. It can be worn as a headscarf, as a sarong, or wrapped as a top with your favourite pair of jeans. It features a hand-painted watercolour artwork by First Nations artist Kylie Caldwell.

Spell is an Australian free-spirited fashion brand inspired by far-off places, vintage treasures, and childhood memories. Proudly designed and sampled in Byron Bay, and produced more responsibly in factories around the world.

Most garments are available in sizes 2XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Spell.

TAMGA Designs

Rated: Good
Someone in scarf by Tamga.

Eden Scarf – Ships internationally from Canada

If you’re looking for floral prints, then you’ve come to the right place. TAMGA Designs creates conscious and colourful clothing using preferred fabrics like TENCEL™️ and organic cotton, and uses lower-impact dyes.

You can find the full range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop TAMGA Designs.

Christy Dawn

Rated: Great
ethically made black ankle boots by Christy Dawn

The Dawn Boot – Ships internationally

Christy Dawn is a minimalist showroom for vintage-inspired women’s clothes and dresses, locally made with surplus fabric. The brand rates well on all fronts, making it a fabulously more ethical whimsical option for your wardrobe.

Find the clothes in standard sizes XS-XL, or shop the Extended and Petite collections.

See the rating.

Shop Christy Dawn.

Editor's note

Feature image via Christy Dawn, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. We love to recommend some of the best more sustainable brands, rated "Good" and "Great". We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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